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Apple Exits "Green Hardware" Certification Program 405

Posted by timothy
from the shiny-star-sticker dept.
westlake writes "CNET reports that Apple is turning its back on the EPA supported EPEAT hardware certification program. One of the problems EPEAT sees are barriers to recycling. Batteries and screens glued into place — that sort of thing. There is a price for Apple in this: CIO Journal notes that the U.S. government requires that 95 percent of its electronics bear the EPEAT seal of approval; large companies such as Ford and Kaiser Permanente require their CIOs to buy from EPEAT-certified firms; and many of the largest universities in the U.S. prefer to buy EPEAT-friendly gear."
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Apple Exits "Green Hardware" Certification Program

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  • No Surprise There (Score:5, Insightful)

    by getto man d (619850) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @05:45PM (#40578257)
    Profit > The Environment
  • by mwfischer (1919758) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @05:57PM (#40578317) Journal

    No xserves, Lion Server is a piece of shit, ARD is a $90 add-on, took 3 years for a corporate iOS configuration tool, 5 for a competent one, Final Cut X rivals Windows Movie Composer, Mac Pros are $4,000 for almost 3 year old hardware, and with 10.8 tethering every machine to the App Store there are no "unregistered" machines...

    They're pro-sumer devices anymore.

  • Energy == $$ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @06:03PM (#40578363)

    Total Environmental cost = manufacturing impact + use impact - recylcing recovery

    typically
      recylcing recovery << manufacturing impact

    all else being equal you'd like to increase recycling recovery but when there is a trade-off in that that increases the manufacturing or use cost it doesn't balance out.

    The hangup is the "easy disassembly" requirement whereas electronics is going to more and more unibody assembly. EPEAT probably is going to have to give on this or be replaced if that is the trend. Since most of the environmental impact happens in manufacture and there isn't a big gain for the environment in recycling It's not necessarily environmentally unfriendly to manufacture a device that is more economical to make and to use. Generally the cheaper something is the less total energy and resources were required to make it. The exception to that is when there is a large exogenous cost not paid by the maker (e.g. say some manufacturer dumping mercury into a river but not having to pay for the consequences). Apple has not said it is planning to shortchange that part of it's environmental policies.

  • Re:EPEAT = Ugly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @06:09PM (#40578383)

    Glue is not a replacement for proper engineering

  • Good move, Apple! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sk999 (846068) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @06:34PM (#40578521)

    Where I work we buy a lot of Mac laptops, but all must be EPEAT-compliant (or a variance must be granted, which isn't likely for that many machines.) I sense a lot of disgruntlement coming.

    Good move, Apple - you may have just saved Steve Ballmer's job.

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @06:49PM (#40578603)

    EPEAT is only valuable in assessing products that don't have dedicated recycling programs in place. I.e. It's useful for assessing the general case, but fails to take into account any special considerations pertaining to particular products.

    For instance, Apple has had a recycling program available for years that is available as a free service to any of their customers. Given that Apple is promising to recycle your devices (including non-Apple ones) for you regardless of how difficult it is to do so, the ease of recycling them should be a non-factor to anyone but Apple, rendering the difficulty of recycling a meaningless measurement for outside consideration. And the fact that they've provided a decent incentive to use their service rather than go to a general purpose recycler has provided a good reason for it to be widely used. Most of the Apple folks I know are aware of the recycling program, even if they haven't had a reason to use it yet.

    Specifically, to use it, you just tell them what you have, and they'll send you pre-paid packaging for your device. In the case of computers (including non-Apple ones) or iOS devices, they'll give you a gift card for the fair market value of your device, and they give you 10% off a new iPod if you bring your old one into a retail location for recycling. They also take non-Apple mobile phones free of charge and with pre-paid shipping, though they don't offer any gift cards or discounts.

    To me, at least in this one narrow area, that all renders EPEAT's assessment obsolete, since it's failed to keep up with the times. It needs some way to account for such programs.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @06:50PM (#40578611) Homepage

    Like all the Occupy protesters that have ipads and iphones...

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @07:01PM (#40578695)

    Bend the rules? What for? The 5% brass gets their iShiny, and for the rest of the company we now have a really good reason why they can't have an iShiny.

    It's so win-win.

  • Re:Energy == $$ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @07:05PM (#40578719)

    You're complaining that my washing machine only allows me to execute the programs that its maker decided were "good" for me?

    How's that different from the iToys?

  • by makomk (752139) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @07:26PM (#40578805) Journal

    For instance, Apple has had a recycling program available for years that is available as a free service to any of their customers. Given that Apple is promising to recycle your devices (including non-Apple ones) for you regardless of how difficult it is to do so, the ease of recycling them should be a non-factor to anyone but Apple, rendering the difficulty of recycling a meaningless measurement for outside consideration.

    Apparently Apple dump the problem of recycling their devices onto a third-party contractor, which gives them a lot of plausible deniability. I'd be interested to see an investigation into what actually happens to Apple hardware once it's handed over for recycling - even if Apple has said that the hardware that's handed over is recycled, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's actually economically feasible for its recycling subcontractors to do so.

  • by cheesybagel (670288) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @07:33PM (#40578849)
    If the pieces are glued in a way they can't be easily separated you need to trash everything that is glued because of one malfunctioning piece. "Repairs" may end up trashing a large chunk of the appliance.
  • Re:Energy == $$ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spykk (823586) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @07:55PM (#40578965)

    EPEAT probably is going to have to give on this or be replaced if that is the trend.

    Right, because when environmental standards become inconvenient for big companies to adhere to then the standards need to change. We certainly can't expect companies to lessen their impact on the environment in order to meet these standards, can we?
    What exactly is the point of having these standards if we just change them every time some big company decides it will be profitable?

  • by ThurstonMoore (605470) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @07:56PM (#40578969)

    Lower interest rates don't contribute to the local economy? Why anyone would use a bank over a credit union is beyond me.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @08:20PM (#40579073)

    ...spoilt brats who don't give a crap about anything unless it is fashionable

    You worked yourself into a lather about someone else's choice of product, to the point of creating a caricature to beat up. Be happy with your own choices and don't obsess over people who make a different choice.

  • by PoopMonkey (932637) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @08:37PM (#40579147)

    I wasn't aware that employees of credit unions are exempt from paying taxes... By providing local employment, that sure seems like providing something to the local economy. I also wasn't aware that if a credit union is building a branch office or remodeling, they get the work done for free. I guess they also get electricity, water, internet, etc for free, thus not contributing to local economy? Shocking stuff to discover...
    Credit unions are also not-for-profit organizations, so it isn't quite an apples to apples comparison. Banks exist to create a profit. Credit unions do not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 07, 2012 @09:01PM (#40579239)

    The windows logo.

  • Re:EPEAT = Ugly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rabtech (223758) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @09:05PM (#40579251) Homepage

    You are over thinking it and/or biased. Apple uses glue because it is faster to manufacture and it frees you from certain structural constraints. I don't like that from a repair standpoint but I understand why they do it.

    The MacBook Retina has soldered memory because that allows the case to be smaller and the structure doesn't need accomadation for an access panel. It also simplifies the trace routing since you don't need to deal with a memory slot. I would also bet that 90% of their users never upgrade the memory in their laptops, so why compromise just for the 10%? I don't like this choice but it isn't some arbitrary scheme to scam people.

  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @09:19PM (#40579305)

    Be happy with your own choices and don't obsess over people who make a different choice.

    Here's the problem with that:

    You have a group of people advocating for the government to step in and force everyone else to make the choices that they prefer, choices which they believe (wrongly) will bring about some bullshit eco-utopia. At the same time, ironically, they whine and complain when that police power, the same power that they want to use against others (read their crazy list of demands) to force choices that wouldn't happen otherwise, descends upon them in the form of pepper spray, baton strikes and plastic handcuffs. I don't have any problem with people making their own choices and living their own lives, live your own life how you want. However, when you say that the government ought to force everyone else to make those same choices because you're "right" and everyone else is either wrong, misguided or stupid; well, that's when I take issue with filthy hippies who would appoint themselves as philosopher kings to manage other people's lives and choices through government decree.

  • by Gr8Apes (679165) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @09:43PM (#40579379)

    blah blah blah... who would appoint themselves as philosopher kings to manage other people's lives and choices through government decree.

    You must really hate those republicans.

  • Re:EPEAT = Ugly? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @09:57PM (#40579447) Journal

    Not to scam people?

    So I pay $1700 for a MacbookPro and in 2 years when the battery needs to be charged after only an hour I have to throw the whole damn thing away!

    F*ck you Apple.

    If that is not a scam I do not know what is. Batteries die and so do SSDs. My phone is a year old and I can tell the battery is dying and needs to be replaced. Apple is making money hoping I would be retarded enough to pay them $3400 in a 4 year time frame for profit reasons. Or I can buy a $900 laptop and replace the battery in 2 years and keep using it for another 2. SSD die? Just replace it and it is designed to be easy. I fail to see how glue can make a battery magically thinner and smaller.

    Why don't I replace my car every 4,000 miles for an oil change too?

  • Re:EPEAT = Ugly? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 07, 2012 @10:13PM (#40579555)

    I'm actually scared to post this under my handle so I doubt anyone will see this but... Steve Jobs is dead. Jobs hated screws, seams and anything else inelegant. That was fine, it was his company and he could as he wanted. (And he did a DAMNED fine job. Please put down the pitchforks.) Now that he is gone though I believe that it's time for Apple to evolve another level. Batteries go bad, we know this. Screens and digitizers shatter, we know this. There is NO REASON that those two items shouldn't be easy to replace with common shop tools. (Yes, I said easy. A millimeter wide ribbon cable that tears in half if you look at it funny during the replacement is not acceptable either.)

    Can we as consumers force Apple to make these design changes? Maybe, maybe not. But we shouldn't have to. Apple should show enough confidence in its products to STOP making them disposable. It's time to evolve.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @10:13PM (#40579557) Homepage Journal
    Ok...so, does anybody really look for some kind of 'green' label before purchasing a computer?

    I mean...is there anyone out there that uses 'green' as a deciding factor between models they are considering??

  • by frosty_tsm (933163) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @11:19PM (#40579829)

    Ok...so, does anybody really look for some kind of 'green' label before purchasing a computer?

    I mean...is there anyone out there that uses 'green' as a deciding factor between models they are considering??

    Look for it? No. But (having only read the summary) if the issue is simply glue verses tabs or screws, it seems there might be some middle ground that can be worked out. Admittedly, it would be on Apple's shoulders to figure out a new solution and EPEAT to not be a narrow-minded organization.

  • by Keen Anthony (762006) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @11:20PM (#40579831)

    Not so much "green" in the classic sense, but I do consider two localized environmental issues: heat dissipation and noise. I have chosen more expensive with less horsepower specifically because my requirements include low heat dissipation and low noise, and I can buy any retail PC on the market I want. My Quad Core iMac is dissipates a comfortable amount of heat and is very quiet vs comparable mobile and all-in-one desktop systems, so it's worth owning. Plus, it doesn't have distracting features like flashing lights - something I never liked. The only really noisy component is the slot-loaded superdrive, but it's all moving parts, and I rarely use it anyway.

    I do actively prefer greener products when those products are disposables, especially kitchen/bathroom products, but with electronic gadgets, I think it's difficult to be green. Pragmatism wins out for me. I wouldn't not buy an Apple product because it became less green than it used to be. Anyone who would is fooling themselves if they regularly buy tech. It's not as if suddenly every non-Apple PC and every Android tablet out there instantly lacks toxic chemicals or rare earth materials that were harvested by impoverished Africans that labored under the brutality of machete wielding thugs. I would love to see a modern computer with current gen performance which has zero environment and geopolitical impact, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

  • by Keen Anthony (762006) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @11:32PM (#40579899)

    I've covered the Occupy movement and have heard from many Occupy protesters. I have seen that segment that advocates an end to capitalism, but they were definitely the fringe, just like the others who were advocating for marijuana legalization. There's also that anti-war contingency. Mostly the Occupy movement has been advocating for increased transparency in government, increased fairness for middle class via legislation that serves the desire of the populist middle class vs the elitist super-rich. There is the national healthcare issue, which I think you're talking about with the forcing everyone to make the same choices, but otherwise what other position has the Occupy movement tried to force on the entire country? And really, does the Occupy movement stand out from any other organized movement that's attempted to get everyone on the same page socially? The Tea Party is doing the exact same thing, and oddly enough, under the Tea Party banner are a lot of segmented positions that are in line with the Occupy movement such as pro-legalization of drugs, lower taxes, anti-war, greater transparency between government and business.

  • by slazzy (864185) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @11:35PM (#40579917) Homepage
    I think this is pretty poor form on Apples part. I love my macbook, but I'm not really interested in supporting a company that is going backwards environmentally.
  • by Keen Anthony (762006) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @11:35PM (#40579921)

    I've seen some. This was years ago though in the 1990s, and obviously things have changed. In many small communities, local credit unions are vital players. I've seen it all through the south.

  • by Brannon (221550) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @11:36PM (#40579933)

    and thus why Apple is going out of business. If only they made rickety plastic phones...

    Have you ever dropped an iPhone? I have, a couple times. From 4 feet high onto asphalt--not a scratch.

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @12:36AM (#40580169)

    I'm impressed how far Apple apologists are willing to go to apologize for the bad acting of their idol.

  • by ThurstonMoore (605470) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @02:31AM (#40580529)

    The fees they charge are much better than the fees charged by banks. I believe my credit union charges a $20 overdraft fee while my previous bank charged $35.

  • by ThurstonMoore (605470) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @02:43AM (#40580577)

    Another plus I just thought of for the credit union. When I deposit my check at 5 PM on Friday the funds are immediately available. The last bank I used the funds were not available until Tuesday.

  • by Halo1 (136547) <<eb.tnegu.sile> <ta> <ebeam.sanoj>> on Sunday July 08, 2012 @04:46AM (#40580861) Homepage

    Apple's recycling program only makes sense if there is no other recycling program available. Otherwise, it becomes a liability.

    To who? Not to Apple. Not to its customers.

    I'm an Apple customer. My country has a national recycling program for, a.o., electronics in place: shops are required to take back old electronic products and have them recycled, or you can bring them to recycling parks. If Apple products require special handling, that will make this program more expensive. Of course, this program is obviously a communist hippie nazi socialist terrorist conspiracy, so they deserve no better. Well, the actual reason for the program is simply that we don't have room for extra landfills anymore so we started recycling like crazy out of necessity, but never mind.

    But you already tackled the above:

    That's a problem with a one-size-fits-all program, not one specialized for Apple products.

    If disassembling Apple products requires more care and energy, that makes the recycling process as a whole less efficient. The whole point of recycling is to produce less waste (both in terms of raw materials and consumed energy). Since as of yet every single person inhabits the same world as the one supplying the materials and energy of which Apple products are made, their behaviour in fact affects everyone. Oops, there the whole communist hippie etc stuff rears its ugly head again.

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @05:36AM (#40581003)

    The new Apple batteries which are glued in to the machines can't be replaced, full-stop. When removed, they rupture. Surely the government should act responsibly, no?

    Apple offers battery replacement for these batteries for $199. Now we apply Occam's razor to the question: Is it more likely that Apple designed the batteries and at the same time designed a way how Apple can replace them without rupturing, or is it more likely that this never occured to Apple, and when the battery ruptures and spills its content inside the MacBook, they give you a new laptop for $199?

  • by jbolden (176878) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @08:00AM (#40581351) Homepage

    I came back to Apple with OSX 10.1 and I'm keeping my geek credit. Self respecting geeks who actually use Apple know how to get around policies that are generally misrepresented by people outside Apple culture.

  • by jbolden (176878) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @08:21AM (#40581409) Homepage

    I appreciate your use of Occam's razor, and I agree with the argument. Of course Apple can take them apart they say that 100 different places on their website.

    I'd just like to comment that http://www.werecycle.com/ [werecycle.com] is Apple's designated recycler and they've stated they know how to take apart the rMBP properly. Its a question of the right equipment and know how but it is not impossible. That doesn't meet EPA standards since EPA standards require that something be able to be broken down without specialized equipment.

    So the facts and the logic line up.

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